It’s All In the Name…Or Is It?

I’ve had a lot of questions lately about naming best practices. Several clients are looking at changing their company name due to new ownership, revised product lines, evolving market, and a host of other factors. And, while the name of your company, product or service line is obviously very important and the discussions should be taken seriously, one key piece of advice I find myself continuing to repeat is to not make it harder than it needs to be.  In others words, keep it simple. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.  Let me explain…

In many instances there is good reason to evaluate changing your name. However, before you spend time brainstorming, I urge you to really look at why you are considering the change. Does your name no longer reflect who you are and what you want to portray? Or, are you interested in changing it because it isn’t sexy? This is where you must take a step back and evaluate this decision from your customers’ point of view – not yours. If your customers are comfortable with your name, you’ll have to make a strong case as to why you are making the change. Of note, many firms exist with the name or names of people long after they leave, and continually switching from name to name is confusing. Again, if it isn’t broken, please don’t try to fix it!

Should you decide to change your name, be advised that is a lengthy process. You must arm your team with the right talking points so they can explain what the name means, why you made the change and what it means to your customers. Have them practice these key messages and then practice some more. And still some more. Role-play and have discussions related to what the name and your image means and how it benefits the marketplace. Moving forward, the messages and branding need to be deliberate and reinforced in all of your communication. When you are tired of the message, recognize that is when your customers are just starting to get it.

As a final thought, remember that it is key to not make this process harder than it needs to be. There are countless examples of corporate names that really were a misnomer, but the company put a lot of muscle behind supporting the brand. The key to success is the consistent effort to reinforce the brand and what it means in all marketing communications efforts, both internal and external. It simply is common sense and hard work.

Share your thoughts with me!

Kimberly Kayler

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